It’s perhaps fitting that in the same month Volkswagen announced it was finally dropping the Beetle from its current range, the Mexican & Brazilian Beetle Register here in the UK celebrated 35 years since its first meeting.
Back in October 1983 when a small group owning Mexican and Brazilian-built Beetles first established the club, it was still possible to buy a brand new Beetle through the German Volkswagen network.
Although German production had ended in 1978, the cars continued to be produced in VW’s Mexican plant.
In those early days it was a simple matter to personally import a car from Europe, and then when European sales finally ended in 1985, enterprising organisations like Beetles UK (now better known as Danbury) began importing cars directly from the Puebla factory, which eventually produced the last classic Beetle in 2003.
A trickle of cars was also imported from VW’s Brazilian factory over the years, and all these late-model Beetles are a fascinating blend of old and new: that 1930s air-cooled engine received updates including electronic fuel injection and engine management as well as a catalytic converter in its 21st century form.
For its 35th year, the Register returned to the same pub in the Cotswold village of Broadwell that had hosted that first meeting in 1983. It was gratifying to see the return of several cars which were present at that first event, proving a well-kept Mexican Beetle is as durable as the Wolfsburg original.
The 2018 meeting was also notable for the presence of club stalwart Howard Cheese’s 50th anniversary edition Beetle, plus a pair of the Ultima Edicion final edition cars produced in 2003. If you fancy a ‘real Beetle – not the imitation’ as the club’s window stickers have it, then these American-built cars can be a great way to sidestep hours of welding. You’ll find more details at: www.mexibug.org.uk.